Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review | Thule Ride Along

Not too long ago, we were introduced to the amazing brand known as Thule, a brand designed with active families in mind to bring you products such as bike carriers, sport strollers, bike seats and luggage to name a few! Whatever adventure your family will go on next, Thule have you covered to make your experience safe easy and stylish! 

The Thule brand was established in 1942. Under the motto Bring your life, Thule globally offers a wide range of premium products for active people that allow them to bring what they care most for safely, easily and in style. It offers among other things roof racks, bike carriers, roof boxes, computer/camera/sports bags and child related products like child bike seats and multifunctional strollers. The products are sold in more than 125 countries world-wide!

"Whatever your passion, whatever your pursuit. Wherever you're going, whatever you're bringing. With Thule, you're free to live your active life to the full."

Bring your board.

Bring your bike.
Bring your skis.
Bring your love.
Bring your passion.
Bring your dreams.
Bring your life.

We were given the opportunity to review the fantastic product RideAlong and have been using it for the past few weeks with Abbie and now wanted to share our experience with you all! 

I was so excited to start using this, as soon as it arrived and we unpacked it, Abbie was trying to sit in it whilst it was on the floor, she was completely intrigued by it and knew straight away it was something she'd be sitting in! The assembly was a little fiddly but to be expected really, products like this need to take a little bit longer to ensure complete safety for your little ones, so we didn't mind it took a while. Once secured to the bike, we popped Abbie's helmet on and put her straight into the seat, securing her legs was easy and can be done using only one hand which is a plus! We kept the seat upright as she's used to it with her highchair and pushchair, however it can be reclined to 5 different reclining positions to suit every child!

As soon as Ben pulled away Abbie instantly lit up and the biggest smile came on her face, she loves motion anyway and loved being high up as well, she was a little annoyed she couldn't really move her legs but soon got over that as Ben went around the corners, although when we took the photos after the 3rd time she no longer wanted her legs strapped in, we were both confident and happy she was still secure and safe so let her legs stay unstrapped as she is sturdy and old enough to keep them still!

 My heart melted seeing her enjoying herself so much, it was like Christmas Day for her! We will definitely be using this for future bike rides and more so in the Summer when the sun is shining! I have so many memories when I was younger of family bike rides around Gloucester, riding through the woods and loving all the big bumps, they're fond memories I would love Abbie to have and now she can! :)

Here are a few features and details!

Technical Specifications

Built in reflector 

Comfortable premium harness 

Foot straps 

Height-adjustable foot rests 
Height-adjustable harness 
Protection wing 
Quick release bracket*
Reclining Seat 
Safety buckle 
Seat length adjustment lever 
One Key System Compatible 
Recommended Ages 9 months to 6 years
Weight 5 kg
Warranty 5 years

*The universal quick release bracket allows seat to mount/dismount from bike in seconds and is compatible with most bike frames.

Childproof safety buckle with large buttons quickly secures child
Detachable, water-repellent padding is machine washable and reversible, offering two color options.

Built-in reflector and safety light attachment point provides added visibility.
Lockable with Thule One-Key System (lock included).

Meets international safety standards.

 We really really REALLY love the RideAlong, it's perfect for getting the little ones out the house into the fresh air whilst the parents get some exercise too, yay! I was really surprised at just how sturdy it was, it's amazing how far products have come and I feel 100% confident with Abbie secured into the seat which is a lot to say from an anxious mummy! I can't recommend this enough, whether you use it to take on holiday or just for a local bike ride, the whole family can enjoy a lovely day out!

Also, if both parents want to use the seat, instead of having to take the seat off and on and mess around with all that again, all you need to do is buy an extra quick-release bracket for just £25 and put this on the second bike! Done!

Visit the Thule website for more amazing products and to purchase your very own RideAlong!

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Christmas Tag!

Afternoon all! 
Today I have a lovely little Christmas tag to share with you all that I found over at Milk Bubble Tea, one of my newest reads this month! I am loving her blog already and have only read a couple of posts! :). Now the Christmas spirit is fully in my system, Christmas shopping is well underway and the Coca Cola advert has now been on, I can start writing more and more posts for Christmas and no-one can judge me (yay!), I thought a little tag post would be a fun way to get you all involved too, so I tag all of you to get involved too!

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
Oh boy where do I start!? Growing up I always loved the Home Alone movies, the second one in particular, there were always the most amazing decorations and Christmas trees and the McCallistars house was my dream house too! Now I think it has to be Elf, such a hilarious and adorable movie, I laugh so much during it and can literally watch it every day over Christmas without getting bored! 

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning! Although when I was younger my Nan would let me open one on Christmas Eve if I was round her house, but I think it can kinda take away from the whole Christmas morning vibe! I can't wait for Abbie to come running in our room begging to get up and seeing her little face as she see's all the presents :)

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
There are so many I could mention but one that's stuck out in my mind the most was when I was about 5 or 6, I had written out my Christmas list and at the very top was a new bike, I had my heart set on one and I didn't really care about anything else I got, so Christmas morning came and i'd had all my presents and I looked around and didn't see a new bike, so I did what any 6 year old would do, I cried, a lot. That was until my Dad pushed a gorgeous pink bike out from the bedroom to cheer me up, I remember that feeling of joy I felt, spoilt brat I was ha ha

4. Favourite festive food?
What, how am I suppose to pick just one? Ummm, probably pigs in blankets, they're the first thing I look for if someone else cooks Christmas dinner, the thing I most look forward to and the thing I eat far too many of! This year i'm cooking for the first time and I plan to eat as many as my stomach can take, I'm having a day off my diet especially for them, mmm!

5. Favourite Christmas gift ?
It was probably when I was bought my first DSLR camera, I didn't ask for anything except for that and I literally spent the whole day taking photos or anything I could, food, frost outside and even the back of the tv to test out the focus! 

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Oh it's got to be the food, every time the oven is opened to check on everything, that waft of turkey, roasties and rosemary, yum! 

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Not really, except for finishing the wrapping! I think as Abbie gets older we will start traditions but for now we're enjoying the fact we don't have to do anything and the madness can start first thing the next morning

8. What tops your tree?
Our tree will be a homemade star to carry on the tradition my Dad and I had, we'll make it from Aluminum foil and cotton wool and lift Abbie up to put it on top of the tree! :)

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
This is going to make me sound really really spoilt, but I got everything I asked for, as I got older I asked for bigger things that I would use as opposed to little things here and there, I've never had that moment where I didn't get something and felt disappointed, lucky me I guess! This year i've got a few big things I've asked for so ask me this question again next year ;)

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Quality family time, the whole festive feeling, the amount of food you are allowed to eat and will not feel guilty about and now Abbie is a bit older, seeing her little face opening her presents and playing with her all day, then taking her to her Grandparents for more presents and then stuffing my face full of naughty food some more!


Friday, 7 November 2014

Christmas | Decorations & Craft Ideas

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I'm well and truly in the Christmas spirit now, which means I can only get more and more excited as each day passes! Since living together we've not really gone mad on decorations, usually just some fairy ligths and the tree with some baubles! But this year we wanted to go a step further and actually make the living room look a lot more Christmassy, we want to keep it pretty traditional and simple but with a really sweet and cosy feel when you walk in! There's a misconception that decorations are pricey, which yes, if you go to the high end places, they will be, but one of my favourite gift websites Rex London have everything you need with amazing prices too, so if you're looking for some unique and special items, hop on over and have a browse at their Christmas section (and everything else for that matter), I promise you won't be disappointed!

I wanted to share with you my favourite picks from the website that we will hopefully be getting too, which is your favourite?

Probably my favourite thing to decorate, being the main centrepiece of the whole room, and me being pretty OCD, the tree has to be perfect, we tried tinsel one year and it just didn't go to plan, so we try and keep it simple and easy really, this year we've gone for traditional red and gold for the tree, we have lots of baubles and will be purchasing the mini polka dot ones above for Abbie to put on too, I think it's important that she has something that is just hers now she's old enough to kinda understand what's going on! We will also be making our  very own star to go on the top of the tree this year, it was a tradition in my family so I will be using my Dad's method to create an aluminium star and Abbie will be putting it on the top every year from now on! 

Last year we didn't have much else other than some fairy lights wrapped around the staircase, but we will be adding lots more this year, starting with the fireplace, we will be using the garland from above to sit across the top, it has battery powered lights too which will add that adorable cosy look at nighttime! I am in love with these gorgeous chapel tea light holders, there are about 5 or 6 on the website, all in different shapes and sizes, they are so much cuter than the regular holders you can get, they give a really sweet pattern against the wall and really make it feel a lot more christmassy! As I said before, we have fairy lights wrapped around the staircase, pretty pink ones that brighten up the whole room, I think we might use some warm yellow ones this year to keep with the colour theme but they really transform the living room and make it look more magical!

Adding that personal touch is always a cute way to keep your home looking unique! No matter what age your little one's are, there is something they can do to help too! Something that can be done for all ages, including newborns, is making special christmas cards! Even if you make one each for the grandparents, they'll really love the personalised touch! One of my favourite ideas is to paint their little feet in brown paint and help them to push their feet against the card to create the face of a reindeer, then just paint on the antlers, eyes and nose and you'll have an adorable reindeer card! Hand them the pen and let them scribble inside too, or hold the pen with them and let them sign their name, it'll definitely give that awww factor! 

If they're just too wriggly or just not wanting to co-operate with this one, maybe draw out a Christmas scene and just let them colour everything in, inside the lines, outside the lines, add glitter, stars, cotton wool for snow etc, grab a load of crafting materials and let their imagination run wild! I have found a few crafting ideas online you might be interested in, click the links below to see more :)

*full credit to Rex London & Jill Dubien for the images


Review | Degustabox October

Today I have a review of the amazing Degustabox! A monthly subscription box that provides you with a surprise of 10-15 products from sweet to savoury, fresh ingredients to drinks, even brand new items you may not have heard of yet! I think one of my favourite things about this is the surprise of what you're getting, I'm always too excited for mine to arrive and I can honestly say, this is my favourite month so far! Lots of yummy treats and recipe helpers! If you like what you see then why not sign up and start receiving your very own Degustabox as of this month, for only £12.99, plus I have a £3 off discount code too if you do register! 5WNB9 :)

Special K Cracker Crisps - £1.89
As you'll probably know if you follow me on Instagram, Ben & I are currently on a healthy eating plan and have both lost 18lbs EACH! We are always on the lookout for foods that although we are craving, come in a much healthier option, when we saw these in our box this month we both got a little excited...first of all, they're my favourite flavour, BBQ, secondly, they have 60% LESS fat than most other crisps on sale, it's safe to say we treated ourselves to the whole packet after dinner on Wednesday and still stayed within all our diet targets, so win win! They are light, crunchy, full of flavour and only 122 calories per 23g (or about 21 crackers to be exact). Definitley recommend these to anyone looking for a healthier alternative to your favourite crisps or just for a yummy snack! Also comes in a range of other flavours, Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar, Sour Cream & Onion & Sweet Chilli.

Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce - £1.39
I could literally eat sweet chilli sauce with everything, they add that sticky and sweet flavour to your meals without being overpowering and too spicy! Blue Dragon are one of the biggest brands when it comes to Chinese food and this sauce in particular has been voted Britains best tasting too! Yum! We tend to have some sort of stir fry for dinner every week so this will be perfect on the side!

Get Buzzing Flapjack - £1.30
Who doesn't love a flapjack? I remember having them at school pretty much every day and they're also one of the easiest things to bake, although I'm healthy eating at the moment and not allowing treats like this till I reach my target, it's going to be o nthe forefront of my mind once I get to my goal, it'll be the first thing I grab! Get Buzzing offer a range of 100% natural healthy eating flapjacks that complement a well ban aced yet by produvind fast and slow releasing energy that will keep you going for longer. Enjoy 10% off your first order with discount code 'newbuzz10'

Enhance Drinks - £2.49
I've seen a lot of these sorts of thing around recently, I think they're a great idea for sprucing up your boring old water and giving you a bit of flavour! I peronally struggle to drink water by itself, but since starting this new lifestyle, I've literally forced myself into it and although the first few days were hard, I'm actually used to it now and haven't drunk anything else in the 6 weeks since I started! So this is one i'll hand over to Ben, he's not really a water person either but after trying this and knowing its only 1cal, he's going to be taking it to work with him! Oh and it also has no added sugar so a healthier alternative to the Robinsons version! I do think it's a little bit pricey as a bottle of squash comes in at about £1 and can last for up to 40 glasses, but who wants to carry a huge bottle of squash around with them at work?

Kent's Kitchen - £2.50
I've not actually heard of this brand before, but they provide you with little meal kits consisting of 3 steps to creating an authentic, delicious meal in just 20 minutes! Use the 3 clever pots and add a few fresh ingredients to create 'restaurant quality' meals! And don't worry, it's all natural ingredients and can be stored in your cupboard for a long time until the right moment comes to using it! I've not used it yet so can't really give my opinion on the taste, but I am looking forward to trying it with a stir fry dish I'm cooking next week! 

Solo Marhsmallow Creme - £1.99
Just reading that title makes my mouth water, it was one of the first items I picked out of the box this month and I was in absolute awe that someone has even invented such a product! THANK YOU! I had a sneaky little smell under the lid and floated off to heaven for a few moments, so what it is? It's a spreadable, bubbly sweet marshmallow treat that can be used as a baking ingredient or even straight from the tub if you're feeling naughty! Why not grab some wafers from the shop and spread a load of this between them for a nougat sandwich! Mmm! 

Dr Oetker Products - from £1.89
In this months box we received the Premium 90% Extra Dark Chocolate pack first of all, made from single origin Ghanaian cocoa beans to give you a deliciously indulgent taste to your baking treats! Ideal for melting and adding to your favourite recipe just by using the microwave! Next we received the Fine Dark Cocoa Powder, made from the finest quality cocoa beans to give a rich dark chocolate colour and flavour. I love that each packet comes with a little recipe card, just to give you some inspiration on what to bake next, and with Christmas on it's way fast, you might be thinking about a yummy dessert to cook after your Christmas dinner, Dr Oetker are always my go to products when it comes to baking, for the price and the convenience, as well as the taste of course!

Bear Paws - £0.55
We are already big fans of Bear Paw products, they seem to have popped up out of no-where and are taking the snacking world by storm! Abbie absolutely loves them and ate half the packet as an after dinner treat, they're made from only pure fruit with no added sugar, concentrates or any other nonsense, i'm always conscious about what i'm feeding Abbie, the more natural the better so these are perfect! With 5 different shaped paws in each packet and different flavours to match too!

Brioche Pasquier  - from £1.60
We were sent 2 lots of their products this month, i'll start with the Pain Au Lait with Choc Chips (or similar to Pain au chocolate!). These always remind me of being in France a lot as a child, lots of croissants and other pastry snacks, these were always my favourite because of the chocolate though! Although they're not the healthiest of breakfasts, they are a lovely treat to have with a good ol' cuppa, you can even pop them in the microwave for 15 seconds to melt the choc chips a little...mmm! Next we were sent the Brioche Loaf, I didn't even know they made bread too, but this is delicious, a lot sweeter than regular bread but also a lot softer which I love, again it's not the healthiest alternative but can fulfil that sweet craving you might be having! You could also make a yummy Maple Pecan Pudding using this as well, definitely a winter warmer for the whole family!

Jelly Belly - £2.50
These really are the treat in this box, Jelly Belly are one of my favourite sweet brands and i'm actually gutted sweets are on my restrictions list this month, they would've been gone within 10 minutes! Jelly Belly aren't just your regular sweet makers, they go the extra mile to ensure the juiciest taste and only the finest ingredients are used, every single bean can take up to 21 days to create too! You might have seen a lot of YouTube videos with people taking the 'Beanboozled Challenge', where they eat weird and unusual flavoured jelly beans? They are made by the same brand, but don't worry the ones in this box and all the yummy scrummy flavours, phew!

Visit the Degustabox website for more information
And follow on Twitter to keep up to date!


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Christmas | My Ideas for a Special Christmas

I'm sat here feeling pretty sentimental right now, it's 6 weeks till Christmas and as excited as I am about everything, I can't help but have that niggle in the back of my mind. I always had the best Christmases growing up, surrounded by food, presents, family and so much love, every year was more special than the previous and I have so many wonderful memories I won't ever forget! But there is someone who is missing from all the joy, someone I can't help but think about every year without fail, my Dad. 

I think now I have Abbie I've realised just how important life is and how at any moment, it can be taken away from you. It makes me want to give the same memories to her as I had, make it just as special and to make her feel as happy as I always was on Christmas morning. 

I wanted to share with you some moments from my childhood christmases that had that extra special touch and what I remember more than the 'regular' moments, I think it's those moments that stand out the most and I will be sharing them with Abbie through the years as a family tradition! I totally wish we had tons and tons of photos from Christmases growing up but camera's really weren't the be all and end all, plus I was never really interested in Photography back them either! But I have the opportunity to give Abbie just that, the special moments which stay in her head forever and the ones she'll probably forget, they'll be in photo form forever too, excuse the cheese ;)

Santa Footprints

One of my favourite things my Dad & Mum both did for me was creating 'Santa's footprints' in our hallway! I woke up on Christmas morning and climbed down my bed and as I walked past the front door I saw snowy footprints along the floor, this is where I made up the very unconvincing lie that I actually saw Santa last night and spoke to him...oh to have a kids imagination again! I never thought to question how there was 'snow' in the hallway when it hadn't even snowed outside, but the fact Santa even visited my house and we were now considered 'besties' was far more important to me! Just incase you were wondering how they did it and want to try it with your little ones, they used one of my Dad's motorbike boots (which were monster big!) and sprinkled carpet powder around them to make it look like snow, very convincing and looked amazing! You could also use cornflower or flour too!

Lucky Dip Game
Every year we would go to my Nan's on Boxing Day which became a whole family get together of all my Aunts, Uncles & cousins for a lot of food and games! My Nan was always the best at setting up the Christmas lucky dip, she would buy lots of cheap bits and bobs and wrap them up in envelopes with numbers written on them and chuck them in a huge wicker basket for after lunch! Us kids would get a few raffle tickets for the more child friendly presents and the adults would get about 3 tickets each to look for as well! Lots of silly, funny and random gifts that would no doubt start conversation and memory talking but also great for the kids, especially the whole element of surprise, who doesn't love that! It's cheap, fun and is a great unique way to pass some of the time too!

Christmas Tree Stumps
After our first Christmas together my Dad decided to cut off the bottom of the Christmas tree into 3 puck sized sections to keep till, well, forever, they then became an ornament piece on our bookcase every single year after it, even now they are still lined up at my Mum's house! He was always the type of person that wanted to go the extra mile to make something even more special and rememberable! So whether it's your first Christmas together as a family or you want something to keep as a special memory, have a go yourself and saw off the bottom of your tree and keep for years to come!

Make your own decorations/star
When it came to decorating the house, we did this as a family, sticking red and gold tinsel across the ceiling, throwing glitter strings over the tree and attaching baubles and fairy lights around too, but there was something we did every year, which we will be doing with Abbie from next year, we sat down together and made our own star to sit on the top of the tree, made from aluminium foil and stuffed with cotton wool! Such a simple idea but one that I remember doing to this day, he had to lift me up to place it on top of the tree up until I was 10! It was tradition and didn't matter I could reach it myself for the past 2 years, it was something only we did and is another memory I won't ever forget.

My Memories
One year I was bought a karaoke machine, amongst more presents than a 9 year old could ever need, and once again, he decided he wants to take over the one present I was most looking forward to using, so up he jumped, karaoke cd in (Abba of course, classic!) then proceeded to wrap my multicoloured feather boa around his neck and start dancing and shouting along to Dancing Queen!

My Dad was one of those people who would be more excited than the kids, I remember one year I finally got a Tamagotchi, the very thing that was at the top of my list to Santa, but did I get to play with it? Of course not! He found it far more entertaining than any of the manly presents he received! I remember sitting with him and showing him what you had to do and asking multiple times if I could have it back, but nope, it was his and no-one else's! 

When it comes down to it, as much as everyone likes presents and gifts, as you get older, you only really remember the special moments, the times that made you laugh till you cried and the magical moments where 'Santa' visited etc..So don't ever feel like you need to buy tons and tons of presents or that everything needs to be perfect, it's usually the impromptu moments that really make Christmas memorable! I wish I could spend another Christmas with my Dad, in fact i'd give anything to have that, but instead I will take the memories I remember from my childhood and pass them onto Abbie, I'll stop worrying about getting her everything in the Argos catalogue, as a family we will treasure each moment we get together, visit family, play games, eat far too much food and stay up late! 

It was a tradition we wore our Christmas hats at all times! 
The annual game of lucky dip! And check out that buffet table!!

I actually baked this when I was in year 4 for the Christmas bake off, I won 1st place and bought my own cake!! Ha ha

Feeling old now looking at this decor!

What are you favourite memories of Christmas?

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